What do you love most about working at Marriott?
There are 2 types of moments that bring me the most joy on the job. The first is when a project actually helps or energises a hotel in a way where you can see associates’ faces and feel like you’ve made a difference. The best part about our Kuta Beach Festival event with Four Points by Sheraton Bali Kuta was not the booth itself or our main stage banners, but the fact that all the associates were visibly excited about being involved in such an event together. The second type of moment is when I get to spoil my friends or family at hotels, whether it’s a simple meal or a stay. When they get spoiled by great good and amazing service in a hotel, it makes me feel like all those dreadful Excel sheets were worth it.
How do you feel to be in your current position?
I’m having a lot of fun! My background is in working on the Continent Operations side of the Marriott’s Asia Pacific business. I’m learning a lot everyday and am noticing that Brand work requires a lot of collaboration with teams such as PR, Digital, Operations, Partnerships…and of course, our hotels. I’m excited to be in this diverse ecosystem of people where we pull giant projects off together.
Have you always known you would venture into hospitality? What sparked your interest?
I’ve always liked hospitality for 2 reasons. First, I grew up across the States and Taiwan and based on my upbringing, I was always curious about different cultures and exchanges among people who are unlike each other. Hospitality, at its core, is always a cultural exchange (eg, between our guests and their destinations, between our associates and our guests). I think it’s important that people who have the privilege to travel go and learn from other cultures and see the world, not for the photos, but for the education. The second reason I like hospitality is because it is such a human centric business. Anyone who works in hospitality should have a sincere desire to serve other people, which makes work much more enjoyable.
Tell us about Four Points Around the World
Four Points Around the World is a global campaign to highlight the global growth of the Four Points by Sheraton brand and celebrate our signature Best Brews program. As part of Marriott International, Four Points has over 275 hotels globally. In Asia Pacific, we have over 75 hotels and a pipeline of 56 hotels. Within Indonesia, we have 10 hotels, which shows how important Indonesia is to us as a brand. Our signature Best Brews program is a nod to how Four Points hotels serve local beer to offer guests a taste of their destination. Often these beers are paired with local barbecue to give our guests a sense of place.
Share with us the latest update regarding those three brands: Four Points, Courtyard, Fairfield
There’s too much to say! For Four Points, we activated 11 hotels with the Four Points Around the World campaign. Each of these hotels brought their Best Brews program to life in a variety of ways, whether through beach festival activations like Kuta or beer gardens like New York. For Courtyard, we are developing partnerships to improve brand engagement among a younger demographic, starting with China. More to come. For Fairfield, we are excited to launch over 17 hotels across Japan in the next 2 years across both rural and urban destinations to meet the explosive demand of tourism across Japan. There are many more projects but this should be enough of a sneak preview!
What do you look forward to as the Asia Pacific Brand Director?
Brand and marketing is a really tangible job where we get to see our initiatives’ impact on the local market. I look forward to shaping how people perceive the Courtyard, Four Points, and Fairfield brands in Asia Pacific through localised campaigns and project work. To that point, I look forward to learning more about the cultures of the destinations where we have properties so we can tell better stories about those places.
Do you like sticking to a routine? Or going with the flow?
I am horrible at sticking to a routine. This job is great because no 2 days are the same. From monthly travel to interacting across a wide breadth of stakeholders, I enjoy the variety of the work.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
I am not the best at work life balance, but I try to go on a run a couple times a week. I also don’t get email notifications on my phone. Increasingly, I find work and life to be more of a blend. I sneak time to take a day off and do fun activities on the tail end of work trips. And often on the weekends, I find myself inspired by the events I attend or conversations I have, which then inform my work.
What activities/hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?
I like to run and enjoy writing in my spare time. Both are very therapeutic for me. Running is a simple task—it is a practice in moving forward step by step, which grounds me when I feel like I have too much work to handle. Writing is my preferred form of self expression, and helps me process all the thoughts in my head.
If you could go on a long holiday anywhere in the world, where would you go, and what would you do?
I’d love to take an extended trip across India because I think it’s important for me to understand more about the country to inform my work. India is an important market for Courtyard, Four Points, and Fairfield. I would love to understand the country’s history and culture to learn more personally and also to do my job better.
Can you share tips for women who would like to follow the same career path?
I hope more women pursue opportunities instead of hesitating about them. It’s statistically proven that women often don’t apply to jobs unless they think they’re 100% qualified for, whereas men apply to jobs when they think they meet 60% of the criteria. Whenever I make job postings, most of the applicants are men. Most of the people who reach out to me on LinkedIn are men. I encourage women to apply for opportunities and network just as men because women’s voices are incredibly important. I hope more brands can be shaped by women and other underrepresented perspectives over time.
At the same time, women’s success is not just up to women, but also men. More men should be asking themselves what they can do to support women’s career development. More men should professionally mentor women. More men should speak up on behalf of women. I also hope these changes take place too to make progress on representation in the workplace.